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Presentation of check

Local Groups Partner to Raise Funds for Long Neck Elementary Playground

Fund raising plans continue despite setbacks from COVID pandemic

(Millsboro) (October 14, 2020) — There were high expectations when Clara Conn, Principal of Long Neck Elementary School (LNE), met with the school’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and the leaders of the Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club prior to the start of the 2019-20 school year to discuss the school’s need for a new, bigger playground to accommodate its student population. From these initial conversations, a fundraising program was born, bringing together companies and groups throughout the region with a single purpose in mind: to raise the $100,000 needed to build the new playground.

The Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club, who has been supporting the school with free books and dictionaries for the students over the past several years, pledged $5,000 for the playground which comes from the proceeds of the Club’s annual charity golf tournament. The Club then reached out to community partners to assist in this endeavor and Mountaire Farms immediately pledged $5,000 and Community Bank Delaware $1,000.

“Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club is thrilled to participate in this campaign together with our partners,” stated Lucille Cavan, Club President.  “Our relationship with and the support of the children, families and businesses in the greater Long Neck community is a top priority particularly during this challenging time.”

Long Neck Sunrise Rotarian, Mike Hall, brought the project to Grace United Methodist Church, and discovered that of the twenty young people in the youth group, 4 or 5 went to Long Neck Elementary and recalled having to stand in line to get a swing during recess and sometimes never getting a turn. They were on board and agreed to split the monies they were raising for a church playground in Nicaragua with the LNE playground, adding another $1,500 to the donated funds.

Fast forward to the current school year. The kick-off events planned for the community have been canceled as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, however, representatives from the donor organizations  gathered at Long Neck Elementary on October 14, 2020 to present their checks to Principal Clara Conn.

Despite the issues faced by local business in this COVID 19 economy, local organizations have made good on their pledges and have given the school significant funds to add to the growing campaign coffers.

  • The Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club donating $5,000
  • Mountaire Farms donating $5,000
  • Community Bank Delaware donating $1,000
  • Ocean Grill II Diner donating $1,000
  • Grace United Methodist Church donating $1,500

This $13,500 will bring the total funds raised to date to $64,244.99.

The Long Neck Elementary PTO under the leadership of President, Mary Wilkins, has earmarked all their fundraising activities in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years to support the playground. They did a fall fundraiser in 2019 with Joe Corbi’s Pizza Kits and Claire’s Gourmet Cookies which raised $7,000 for the playground, and a winter fundraiser with Yankee Candle, raising  $5,000. $500 was raised from cereal box tops. Local restaurants offered 10% on purchases made on certain dates. These included Captain’s Pizza and Ocean Grill II.  JT Rogers Marine Construction donated $1,500 to the cause and the New Life Bible Fellowship Church donated the traditional “teacher welcome back meal” and goody bags in the fall of 2019 so that the PTO could dedicate their funds to the playground. Although the Corona virus has certainly put a damper on some restaurant activities, the PTO is regrouping and will continue their efforts until the goal is met.  A donation from diners at Chick-Fil-A with free ice cream for the kids was postponed and will be rescheduled.

To Mary Wilkins, who is relatively new to the world of volunteering, this has been an overwhelming but fulfilling effort for her and her fellow PTO members. “We just want to make sure that the kids have the playground equipment that is safe and appropriate for the various age groups in the school. Our work  has just begun, but with the continued support of the community, we know we will reach our goal.”

Currently the student population of 700 students from multiple ethnicities and 43% from lower income families, are served by a playground with two slides, eight swings and a climbing station that is not safe for children in grades K-2. This playground configuration was built when the school needed to physically expand and its prior playground was eliminated. The playground had also suffered from some flooding issues which have been remediated by drainage systems installed by the school district. The Indian River School district had provided the school with $25,000 dollars for this current playground equipment, which became the seed money for this latest fundraising effort

During the 2018-19 school year, the LNE fifth grade student council and the school’s administrators met to discuss what equipment should be included in a new playground. The student council met with other students and it was agreed to include six additional swings, soccer goals, safe climbing equipment, a rock wall and four slides usable by all students attending the school. The playground would also need to be ADA compliant and have a 12” compacted engineered wood fiber flooring. The student council and administrators then met with three companies to obtain proposals and selected Liberty Parks Playground Equipment Company who offered the best price for the playground and who had worked with the school’s previous equipment and local schools.

“We have certainly been dealing with significant setbacks in realizing our plans to provide the playground equipment sorely needed here at Long Neck Elementary,” notes Principal Clara Conn.  “We will move forward with the donations we have by Spring of 2021 to get installed what we can. We are extremely grateful to the greater Long Neck Community for their support in this important endeavor for the health and well-being of our students.”

Those wishing to help with this project can send donations to Clara Conn, Principal, Long Neck Elementary School, 26064 School Lane Millsboro, DE 19966.  Checks should be payable to Long Neck Elementary and “playground donation” should be noted in the memo field.

Pictured above left to right: Shannon McGinn, Vice President. Community Bank Delaware; Jack Riddle, President, Community Bank Delaware; Zach Evans, Community Relations Manager, Mountaire; Lucille Cavan, President, Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club; Clara Conn, Principal, Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club; Mike Hall, Grace United Methodist Church and Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club, Reverend Karin Tunnell, Grace United Methodist Church; Mary Wilkins, President, Long Neck Elementary PTO; Leolga Wright, Board Vice President, Indian River School District; Karen Blannard; Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Indian River School District.

 

 

Photo of children celebrating their birthday

Birthday Bash Continues – Socially Distanced to Celebrate the Children at the Oak Orchard Boys & Girls Club

(Millsboro) (September 25, 2020) — The Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club Birthday Bash came to halt in the face of COVID 19 and restrictions that were placed on day care facilities throughout Delaware.   This program is to celebrate the Lives of youngsters who have a birthday at the Oak Orchard Boys and Girls Club  during the month and they receive a $25. Gift card, cupcakes  and balloons   During the height of the pandemic, the Oak Orchard Boys & Girls Club was only to serve up to 25 children of first responders, a far cry from the normal attendance of approximately 100 children from the greater Long Neck and Oak Orchard communities. As a result, Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club put its program on hold.

Fast forward to this fall and The Oak Orchard Boys and Girls Club is now able to accept up to 70 children, and Long Neck Sunrise Rotarian Cathy Cardaneo was able to drop off the cupcakes,juice boxes, balloons  for the celebration as well as the gift cards for the 11 children celebrating birthdays in (what months?). Although Rotary Club members were not able to attend, the staff at the Boys and Girls Club set up the socially distanced party at the facility’s outdoor pavilion and a great time was had by all.

“We can’t thank the Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club enough for the wonderful birthday bash items for the kids!“ noted Club Executive Director Erica Kennedy. “They absolutely loved it!”

As part of its mission to change lives in the greater Long Neck community, the Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club has been celebrating children at the Oak Orchard Boys and Girls Club with regular birthday parties every month from September to May since the fall of 2017. The first celebration was funded by a Rotary District grant, but  the program has continued with proceeds from the Club’s annual golf outing at The Peninsula Golf Club.

“Our partnership with the Oak Orchard Boys and Girls Club is an integral part of our community mission,” remarked Lucille Cavan, President of the Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club.  “It’s wonderful that our club is able to continue supporting the children during these difficult times.”

Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club has been working to support the youth of the Long Neck region for years. They have worked with the Boys & Girls Club on an annual MLB Pitch, Hit and Run Competition as well as the Birthday Bashes, provided dictionaries annually to the third graders attending Long Neck Elementary School and supported the annual book fair at Long Neck Elementary by supplying two free books to each child at the school.

Pictured above: The birthday celebrants left to right: Brooklyn, Keysha, Ellie, Gracie, Logan, Tyson, Jacoby, Jace, Noah, Kimberly, Lilly

Photo presenting Staples supplies to Oak Orchard Boys and Girls Club

Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club and Staples Partner to Support the Oak Orchard Boys and Girls Club

(Millsboro) (May 26, 2020) — The Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club has a long history of supporting the work done by the Oak Orchard Boys and Girls Club. When recently notified that the Boys and Girls Club were having difficulties getting certain supplies needed for its arts and crafts activities, Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club member, and Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Dover International Speedway, Mark Rossi, leveraged a relationship with Staples to obtain the needed supplies.

By partnering together, Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club and Staples were able to donate over $400 worth of supplies to the Oak Orchard Boys and Girls Club. The donation included needed items like glue, construction paper, crayons, washable markers, colored pencils, watercolors, and giant glue sticks. Staples also donated 25 COVID Time Capsules to the Boys and Girls Club at no charge.

“Social limitations aside, we are still able to leverage our relationships within the community to address a need,” remarked Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club President, John Berner.  “We are delighted that Staples joined with us to help the work of the Oak Orchard Boys and Girls Club which ultimately helps the children of our community work through this difficult time.”

Pictured above: Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club partnered with Staples to provide Oak Orchard Boys & Girls Club much needed supplies. Pictured here are Club President, John Berner (left) with Erica Kennedy, Director Boys and Girls Club – Millsboro and Demaris Miller, Director Boys and Girls Club – Rehoboth Beach.

Photo of John Berner and donation check

Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club Donates to Harry K

(Millsboro) (May 18, 2020) — As part of its ongoing mission to change lives within the community, The Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club virtually presented a $2,000 donation to Harry Keswani, President/Founder, The Harry K Foundation, to support the Foundation’s work in providing food to hungry children in Delaware. Funds for the donation were part of the proceeds raised at the Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club’s popular golf tournament held last June at The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay and funds contributed by Club member, Steve Grossman.

Harry Keswani updated the Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club at their virtual meeting on April 28 about the increased difficulties of serving the nutritional needs of children due to the result of school shut downs in Delaware and how the Foundation was working to meet that challenge. The Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club Board of Directors voted at its next meeting to double its initial pledge made to the Foundation to $1,500 and Board Member, Steve Grossman donated an additional $500 to bring the Club’s total donation to $2,000.

“Despite social restrictions, our Club is working diligently to support those suffering the most from this crisis,” noted Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club President, John Berner.  “Children are at the heart of our mission and we are delighted that we are able to help an organization like the Harry K Foundation continue on its mission of serving children’s nutritional needs.”

Once restaurants are again open, The Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club maintains a donation box for the Harry K Foundation food pantry at the front door of the Ocean Grill II Diner on Long Neck Road, where the Club normally meets when social distancing is not an issue.

#DineLongNeck

Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club Launches #DineLongNeck to Promote Local Restaurants

(Millsboro) (May 6, 2020) — Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club began #dinelongneck today, a program established to promote the restaurants offering take-out via pick-up and / or delivery to the greater Long Neck Community. The Club has a list of the restaurants, their hours, their contact information and a link to their respective menus and specials on a dedicated page within the Club’s website at www.longnecksunriserotaryclub.com/dinelongneck. The Club is promoting the campaign via email, NextDoor and the Club’s Facebook page to its members, their local neighbors and friends as well as tapping contacts within the Long Neck Elementary School system and the Oak Orchard Boys and Girls Clubs.

“Our mission as a Club is to serve others, to make a difference in the lives of the youth, adults, veterans and businesses in our community,” remarked John Berner, Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club President. “We know the small business community can certainly use a boost during this pandemic and our hope with this campaign is to bring them additional business that will continue once doors are open to the public.”

Photography of scholarship recipients

Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club Awards $4,000 in Scholarships to Four Graduating High School Seniors

(Millsboro) (April 28, 2020) — This year’s high school graduating class of 2020 are experiencing a reality that no one could have predicted just a few short months ago. Yet, the fact remains that their senior year will be remembered for far different reasons than most remember. For four graduating seniors, they have something to rejoice – a $1000 Service Above Self Scholarship award from the Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club.

Last year the Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club began the Service Above Self Scholarship to award a $1000 scholarship to the Indian River and Sussex Central high school graduates demonstrating the combination of a solid academic record, financial need and a strong resume of community service. Those students who were members of the Rotary’s Interact / Enviro-Act clubs would also be given preferential consideration all other elements being equal. This year the Club has awarded $1000 scholarships to Sussex Central seniors Christopher Lombardi and Emma Evan and $1000 scholarships to Indian River seniors Maddison Olley and Kaila McCabe. Their scholarships can be sent to the college they will be attending for tuition costs or used to defray expenses the student might incur for computers and books.

“We had such a difficult time making our selection,” remarks Judy Hall, Long Neck Sunrise Rotarian managing the application and award process. “We had seven candidates from Indian River and four from Sussex Central, all of whom exhibited outstanding characteristics. We are very happy to be able to help these students pursue their dream.”

The Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club is currently meeting virtually and three club members worked with blinded applications and a ranking system to reach a decision. Students were notified within the past two weeks of the decision.

Award winner Christopher Lombardi was captain of the football team at Sussex Central and volunteered for Delaware Autism. He plans to attend Salisbury University with becoming a state police officer or a fish and wildlife officer.  Sussex Central Student Athlete Emma Evan plans to attend Clemson University in the fall where she will major in psychology and accounting with a goal of becoming a criminal psychologist with the FBI. In addition to her participating in track and cross country, Emma is an Altar Server and Lector at St. Ann’s Church, serves on the Sussex County Philanthropy Board, and works with Athletes Serving Athletes and Best Buddies among other activities.

Indian River graduating senior Maddison Olley is a member of the Enviro-Act Club  and will attend The University of Tampa Honors Program or The University of Maryland where she will study neuroscience with the ultimate goal of becoming a physician with the specialty of pediatric neurology. Maddison has been a varsity cheerleader,  member of the concert / marching band, participated in Academic Challenge among other school endeavors in addition to volunteering with several organizations and activities including The Night to Shine and the Annual Toy/Food Bank Christmas Drive.  Kaila McCabe is also a member of the Enviro-Act club at Indian River High School, and plans to attend the University of Pittsburgh or the University of Delaware with the goal of becoming a physician’s assistant in emergency medicine. A member of the swim team and cheerleading squad captain, Kaila also includes volunteer work with the children’s ministry at High Tide Church, being a Buddy at the Night to Shine Special Needs Dance and a volunteer assistant cheer coach at Shore Pride All-stars among her many activities.

Rotarians presenting check to Habitat for Humanity

Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club Donates to Sussex County Habitat For Humanity

Millsboro) (February 4, 2019) — As part of its ongoing mission to change lives within the community, The Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club presented a $1,000 donation to Kevin Gilmore, Executive Director, Sussex County Habitat for Humanity, to assist in the organization’s home repair and home building programs. Funds for the donation were part of the proceeds raised at the Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club’s popular golf tournament held last June at The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay.

The Sussex County Habitat for Humanity organization has built 106 homes in Sussex County since 1991, and hopes to build an additional 94 homes over the next seven years.

Gilmore pointed out that the Sussex County Habitat for Humanity organization has built or rehabbed and sold 144 homes since its founding in 1991.It has served 539 people through homeownership (187 adults and 352 children) and helped over 240 homeowners with small repairs to help them stay in their homes. In the past three years, the organization has provided one-on-one financial literacy coaching to over 600 people.

At the presentation, Gilmore noted: “Thank you to Long Neck Sunshine Rotary Club for its faithful support of the work of Sussex County Habitat for Humanity. There are two primary concerns around housing affordability in Sussex County. The first is that there is a lack of inventory and the second is that too many people are paying too much of their income on housing. One in seven households in Sussex County are paying more than 50% of their income on housing.  Every dollar that is given to Habitat helps combat the affordable housing shortage by helping another family with an opportunity to build and buy a home they can afford.”

“We are very happy to be able to support the work of Habitat for Humanity with the proceeds of our annual golf tournament,” noted Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club President, John Berner.  “The work they do is truly needed in our community.”

Pictured at top: Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club presents to Sussex County Habitat for Humanity. Standing left to right: Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club President, John Berner; Past President Mike Hall; and Sussex County Executive Director Kevin Gimore.

Child eating cupcake

Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club Throws Monthly Birthday Parties to Celebrate the Children at the Oak Orchard Boys & Girls Club

(Millsboro) (February 22, 2020) — The Oak Orchard Boys and Girls Club is a happening place on any given day, but on one Friday afternoon a month, the noise level and exuberance take on a whole new dimension when Long Neck Sunrise Rotarians arrive for a “Birthday Bash” with balloons, cupcakes, juice boxes and $25 VISA gift cards for those children having birthdays within that month. As part of its mission to change lives in the greater Long Neck community, the Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club has been celebrating children at the Oak Orchard Boys and Girls Club with regular birthday parties every month from September to May since the fall of 2017.

Originally part of a district grant program procured by the Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club to Celebrate the Lives of Youngsters at the Oak Orchard Boys & Girls Club, the program now is being run with proceeds from the Club’s annual golf outing held in June each year at The Peninsula Golf Club.  There are currently 96 children attending the programs at the Oak Orchard Boys & Girls Club who have received or will be receiving their $25 gift card and balloon.  All children are treated to the cupcakes and juice boxes at each event.

“We are so grateful that the Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club has been able to continue these birthday celebrations,“ noted Club Executive Director Erica Kennedy. “The children really look forward to having this special day and they love the icing.”

“Our partnership with the Oak Orchard Boys and Girls Club is an integral part of our community mission,” remarked Lucille Cavan, Chair of the Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club Youth Projects Committee.  “We are delighted to be able to make an impact on the lives of these young people, and even more delighted when the children recognize us outside of the Club.  We truly know we are spreading the good works of Rotary.”

Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club has been working to support the youth of the Long Neck region for years. They have worked with the Boys & Girls Club on an annual MLB Pitch, Hit and Run Competition as well as the Birthday Bashes, provided dictionaries annually to the third graders attending Long Neck Elementary School and supported the annual book fair at Long Neck Elementary by supplying two free books to each child at the school.

 

Blowing out the candle on the cupcakeGroup of children celebrating birthdaysRotarians working at birthday party

 

Captions:

At Top:  Olivia W. enjoys her icing as Jace S looks on!Top left:

Above Left:  Khy’Jay Lucian T, Jace S, Marley W, Olivia W  and Daemon D. enjoying the Birthday Bash.

Above Middle: Alexandria A. gets ready to blow out a candle on her cupcake being lit by Long Neck Sunrise Rotarian Cathy Cardaneo, while fellow celebrators (from left to right) Isaiah C., Brooklyn D and Trenton P. look on

Above Right:  Rotarians prepare to award gift cards and balloons to children having birthdays that month. Students seated at table: Josiah L, Tyion L, Sophia R, Lilyana C.

 

Rotary presenting check to the American Legion

Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club Donates $3,100 to Local Organizations Serving Veterans

(Millsboro) (February 2020) — This month, the Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club completed donating the fund proceeds from its fall 2019 Flags for Heroes fund raising program to local agencies serving veterans. At its February 4th meeting, The Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club presented a $1,500 donation to Toni Bergfelder, from Home of the Brave’s Women’s Shelter. The agency has two homes located on Sharps Road outside of Milford to serve the needs of homeless men and women who served in the military. The Rotary check was earmarked for use by the women’s shelter.

At an earlier meeting, an $800 check was presented to the officers of the American Legion Post 28 to assist their work with area veterans. Another check for $800 was sent to Warriors Community Connect, formerly known as Operation Second Chance. American Legion Post 28 and Warriors Community Connect partnered with the Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club in its fall Flags for Heroes Fund Raiser, and hopes are to continue this partnership to build a bigger fund raising effort to better impact the lives of local veterans.

Pictured at top: Flags for Heroes co-chairs, Fred Gibbs (left) and Sarah Cha Cha (right) present a check generated from the proceeds from our Flags for Heroes project to American Legion Post 28 Officers 3rd Vice Commander – Russell E. Bufflap (center left) and Commander Jim Beattie (center right). The $800 check will be used to assist the Legion in their work with area veterans.

Rotary presenting check to Home of the Brave

Service Projects Committee Chair, Dan Reed and Club President John Berner present Toni Bergfelder of Home of the Brave II a check for $1500 to support the Home’s women shelters for Veterans.

Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club’s Flags for Heroes Program Raises $3,200 to Benefit Local Veterans

Oak Orchard Riverdale American Legion Post 28 and
Warrior Community Connect partner with the club to raise funds

The Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club joined with the Oak Orchard Riverdale American Legion Post 28 and the Warrior Community Connect (WCC) organization to sell flags in its Flags for Heroes program, proceeds of which will go to support the veteran causes of Post 28 and WCC. $3,200 was raised by selling 64 flags at $50 each, via a two-month fund raising effort capped off by a Flags for Heroes fund raiser on October 25, 2019 at the American Legion Post 28, 31768 Legion Rd, Millsboro, DE 19966.

Rotarians setting up the club banner before the flag displayThe Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club has sponsored a Flags for Heroes program since 2015, displaying sponsored flags on the grounds of the American Legion Post 28 during the weeks leading up to Veteran’s Day. In 2018 the club was able to obtain 50 sponsors of flags. This year’s total of 64 was a respectable increase and hopes are that the momentum will continue into future years. Joining with the American Legion Post 28 and President John Berner draping the US flag on a speaking veteranWarrior Community Connect is the first time the Rotary Club has entered into such a partnership to meet its fund-raising objectives, all proceeds of which will benefit veterans in need.

“This was the first time we tried to do a fund-raising endeavor with other partners and we were very pleased with what we were able to accomplish in a short period of time with the three organizations Legion, Rotary and Wounded Warrior Connect leaderspulling together to host the event and sell the flags,” notes Long Neck Sunrise Rotarian Fred Gibbs, co-chairman of this year’s Flag for Heroes project. “We expect the event to get better and better.”

Flags were posted on Saturday, October 26, 2019 by members of the Long Neck Sunrise Rotary Club. The impressive flag display can be viewed at the corner of John J Williams Highway and 31768 Legion Road on the front lawn of the American Legion Post 28 property. It will be on display through November 16. Those who purchased flags can find the flag for their hero by using the numbers posted with the flags which are keyed to a sign of heroes and sponsors posted at the display.

Photo Captions:

Top – Long Neck Sunrise Club Rotarians put the finishing touches on this year’s Flag for Heroes display by posting the program identification banner.

Middle – Long Neck Sunrise Club President, John Berner, drapes a comforting flag on the shoulder of Warrior Community Connect program veteran, Alex Pabon, while his wife Sylvia looks on. (Standing left – Walt Ellenberger, President, Warrior Community Connect.

Bottom – American Legion Post 28 Commander, Jim Beattie stands with Long Neck Sunrise Club Rotarian Flags for Heroes co-chairs, Fred Gibbs and Sarah Cha-Cha, along with Warrior Community Connect President, Walt Ellenberger.